Moment of Zen: Dec 10-16

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Or at least the Arizona equivalent, i.e. 75 degrees F  (24C roughly) in December. I made a Christmas playlist last week to listen to, and we put up the Christmas tree. I am looking forward to the homemade mincemeat my mom and I made in October, and the German treats like Lebkuchen and Stollen. I still need to get Christmas presents, but am trying not to stress about that. 

penguins-christmas-wish

Sat: Listening to CD from Teen Central whilst working on updating Kids Cafe info. Made me feel super accomplished for only the third time this week. 

Sun: Listening/Moving to GoNoodle videos with my son and watching Legend of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which was a little camp, but we enjoyed it (with snuggling of course). 

Mon: Snuggly Boo time this morning, whilst reading Penguin’s Christmas Wish by Salina Yoon (pic at top of page), The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston, and Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea written and illustrated by Ben Clanton (pic below). Also a co-worker, who I had been talking to about the book, gave me a library copy of the just released The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan (his newest gods series) which he had just finished. I thought it was sweet that he thought of me 🙂 . 

narwhal-unicorn-of-the-sea

Tues: The look on my friend’s faces when I gave them my handmade Christmas presents, definitely a great thing. Started The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan on my lunch break and already got into it. It seems like Apollo is probably going to be one of those characters that is a complete ass-hat in the beginning but grows on you by the end of the series. 

Wed: Got our dog Poppet a bath, nail trim and haircut. It may not sound like much, but haven’t been able to afford it in ages, she feels better and everything I own isn’t covered in white pooch fur. 

Thurs: Playing Sorry! with my son and then eating dinner and singing along to Christmas music. 

Fri: Listening to DA: Inquisition Party Banter  and cracking up whilst working on my ongoing Collection Development project at work.

Moments of Zen: Dec 3 – 9

Last week was a bit of a wash-out, i.e. a pretty craptastic in my personal and professional life, hence why I didn’t post my weekly Moment of Zen. So I am trying to take a more positive spin on things to improve that, as I am tired of being so sad and angry all the time. 

quote-of-the-week-12-9-16

What I need to keep in mind this week and in the future

Sat: Going to the library with my son to pick up our books on hold, and coming home to read him Dog Man by Dav Pilkey. Also having him “read” me from his giant adult Dinosaur book – basically just telling me what he thinks each dinosaur did and what period they lived during. 

Sun: Working on my Christmas presents and got a fair amount done. Got to have coffee and breakfast with my dad after church and before I had to go to work. Started watching a hilariously awkward show on Netflix called Chewing Gum, but got tired of it after awhile. 

Mon: Finished the fifth volume of Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori and Horimiyu #3 by Hero (I am really enjoying this series, super adorable awkward characters). Rewatched episodes of Glee, which really crack me up and of course, sing along. Makes me wish I had a show like that in high school. 

horimiya_3

miyamura-at-home-and-school

Miyamura at school and at home (can’t see the tattoos but they are there – so freaking cute!)

Tues: Got a fair amount of research done on my future 5-8 yr old literacy program for the library. Still trying to figure out how I want to structure it and make a proposal to get support from other organizations/supervisors. Also finished Ouran High School Host Club #6 (best one yet!). 

Wed: Got to see my counselor for the first time in two weeks and was definitely needed as last week was such a disaster. I always feel calmer after I’ve talked to him. Put up Christmas Tree with my son and he helped me decorate – I was rather proud of myself when we finished. 

Thurs: Hanging with Boo at Steele Indian Park after school. He played on the playground equipment, we went up and down the hill, playing with his bouncy ball, and hung out with the ducks. Also discovered Go Noodle again, and we sang and danced along to that. This is my favorite one

Fri: Listening to the Dragon Age score and trying to focus on my work – didn’t really work, but made me feel a bit better. Pinning the hell out of Dragon Age stuff today, can’t seem to stop. Getting to read Horimiya #5 during lunch and wishing the series was longer than 6 books because I love it so much. Seriously Miyamura is the best boyfriend ever! Eating a carrot cake cupcake and savoring it. 

Moments of Zen: Thanksgiving Edition 2016

I started Moments of Zen because I wanted to show that I was grateful for things going on in my daily life and it has become a journal of sorts in that respect. Because this week  is Thanksgiving and I have an awful lot of things to be thankful for lately, I would like to take this time to list a few. 

I’m grateful for:

  • A roof over my head : (yes it is not my ideal location but the rent is decently priced and it’s close to Liam’s school and my job)
  • My job – I get to work with kids and parents recommending books and doing what I got a Master’s Degree for (yes you do need a Masters Degree to work professionally in libraries) and finding new ways to share my love for books with new people; also the money helps me pay for food, gas and other essentials
  • My family, esp my parents, brother and son – the last 4 months have been the hardest of my life and they have been totally supportive of everything
  • My friends – again, they’re amazing and supportive; I can laugh, cry, get angry, frustrated or excited and they still want to hang with me and hear my ideas/craziness
  • A creative outlet – I have been writing a short story and I write poems to express myself; Having a creative outlet is super important and vital to me
  • A Novel Idea – the book club my friend Joanna and me started back in July and I look forward to it so much every month; it is helping keep me afloat 
  • St. John’s – my church, I hadn’t gone in ages before I started going again back in Sept but I’m glad I started going again. I feel like I can go here and be sad/emotional and that’s okay. Also a place where I can pray and be heard. Plus everyone there is so nice and supportive, especially Father Bruce. 
  • My counselor: Because he always listens and offers advice, even when everything around me seems to be out of control and really crappy
  • Books (written and audio) and Reading/Listening – because I literally couldn’t function without them
  • Everything Dragon Age – because it’s escapism and fun, or as this article says, “fantasy [is] not as an escape from reality, but a different way of engaging with it.” Below pic is my every time dilemma with DA2. 

fenris-everytime

Sat: Today was a good day after work. I made a goat cheese, pesto and red pepper tart, which was amazing (based off this recipe). I worked on my DA short story and played more DA 2, my latest game obsession again. I’ve played it so many times, but I just love the story and characters. 

Sun: Bookclub was Sunday night, and even though I was an hour late, I still had fun and good food there. We discussed Like Water for Chocolate, which pretty much everyone enjoyed. Plus there was Tres Leches Cake, which was delicious. 

Mon: I was running late in the morning before work and didn’t get to take a shower. So I went back during my lunch break and took one and read a bit of The Creeping Shadow, which is getting so good, I didn’t want to put it down. 

Tues: Catching up with my friend Joanna. We’ve had very different work schedules lately, so I don’t always get to talk. 

Wed:  Spending some time with my son and reading Captain Underpants #7 to him. 

Thurs: Flying kites with my dad, mom and my son before Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner itself was pretty damn tasty (Thanks Dad for the awesome smoked turkey!), and then I got to go see Beautiful, the musical inspired by Carole King’s life (which was way cooler -because of the great music – than I expected it to be, but also really sad). I had no idea she helped write so many famous songs from the 1960s and 70s. 

Moments of Zen: Nov 12-18

cullen-very-british-problems

Cullen’s Very British Problems – I have definitely felt like this and a bit lately

Sat: Actually had a pleasant normal conversation with my husband while we were picking up and exchanging dressers with my mom, and picking up Liam’s bed. In fact, it was the nicest and friendliest we’ve been in months. I am hoping it can be like this in future. 

Mon: Finishing up a poem I’ve been writing for a few months. Writing some more on my DA story, and trying to decide what I want to do with it next. I can’t believe I’ve written 32 1/2 pages so far and at least 1/3 of it is my own work! 

Tues: Working on DA story and remembering how hard it is to summarize someone else’s work, while making it sound interesting enough to keep everyone’s interest up. I guess this is good practice if I ever try to write my own book. 

Wed: Finished reading Captain Underpants #6 to Liam (it was the grossest one yet, so many in-depth descriptions of mucus/snot/phlegm, ewww), and it was a cliffhanger. Also read Penguin Problems by Jory John, which I absolutely adored. It was hilarious and pretty much how I feel. 

Thurs: Made this crockpot dish I’ve been wanting to make forever and it was awesome! Of course you have to really like Bavarian Sauerkraut to like it, but I love all those flavor profiles. 

Fri: Reading some more of The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud, and really getting into it. To see some cool fan art on the series, check out the 2nd – 4th examples on this gallery. Also check out the US fan site

4-the-creeping-shadow

Moments of Zen: Nov 4-11th

I will be glad when this week is over because all the driving from the West Valley to central Phoenix is driving me nuts. So glad to live close to where I work and my kid goes to school. Sorry to wait so long to post this, end of the week got a bit crazy and I forgot. 

Fri: Sitting down at lunch and having a bite without thinking about my kid, money/bills, or anything else and reading part of The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd and wondering if the events in the book actually did happen (Wilhelm II meeting with the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler, and how Himmler really came to be in charge of the SS and have so much political power despite being rather unremarkable-looking). It makes me want to read a bio of Wilhelm II because I’ve always been fascinated with his family (well really the way Queen Victoria managed to get her children into ever royal family in Europe and the Edwardian period afterwards). 

the-kaisers-last-kiss

Sat: Watched three episodes of that new Celia show on Netflix and have been really enjoying it. Also got to play some more DA: I and got a good review of my fanfiction thus far from one of my friends. Decided to do the NaNoWriMo except do it with this story instead of an actual novel.  

Sun: Snuggle bonding time with my son, and then watching Skylanders Academy, the Netflix series later on. [We have since finished Season 1, so really hoping there is a 2nd season.]It is supposed to be a kids show, but a lot of adult humor in it, and I discovered that the guy who voices Cullen in DA:I also voiced the character Jet-Vac in Skylanders Academy. Posting the first 7 chapters of my story (scared but excited to see what non-friends think). 

Mon: Reading Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (Book #5) by Dav Pilkey this morning during breakfast to my son. He loves these books. We’ve been reading them for a couple weeks now and have been finishing them in two days. 

Tues: Spending time with my dog (who has missed me while I’ve been dog/housesitting at my parents house the passed two days), whilst playing SWTOR with my Sith Warrior Togruta. 

Thurs: My parents came back early from their trip, so we can go home tomorrow. My brother and I talked for 2 hrs on the phone and caught up with everything that’s been going on in our personal lives and politically in the US (yes, I am sad that Trump is our president, I did not vote for him, but I hope he has some good advisors to help him not completely wreck our country). 

battlepug-dec-31-2013-trump-description-last-panel

Battlepug Dec 31, 2013: Trump description in the last panel

Fri:  Surprisingly, it was coming back to my house and unloading the car (after being away for a week) and then running errands with Liam. He was reasonably well-behaved and happy, as he was getting new bed sheets and a blanket to go with his new bed that we are bringing over tomorrow. 

Moments of Zen: Oct 28-Nov 3

This has been another really crazy week that I am glad to see the end of, even if I have to work on Saturday, though it is only 4 hrs. I have felt a bit like the below cartoon this week with my son, but replace cookies with Halloween candy, books and anything else he’s not supposed to be messing with that he is currently messing with. I do love Fowl Language by the way, great comic for parents or those who take care of children. 

parenting-vs-bartending

Fri: Working on my DA story, finishing up A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and my review for Saving Hamlet. 

a-torch-against-the-night

Sat: Going to Fall Festival at the YMCA with Liam and watching him attempt to climb the rock wall, play all the carnival games, and costume contest in his new Toothless costume – sadly he didn’t win, the kid in the homemade gumball machine costume did. I did get some Mommy time when I was writing my DA fan fiction, checking out new DA comics, and listening to Spotify. 

Sun: Eating mini muffins and drinking lemonade at church while waiting for the service to start (without my son) and reading the beginning of the The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd. Was nice to just have a few moments to myself without all the chaos. 

Mon: Worked on my DA story some more and trying to open up the storyline a bit and not rely solely on the game. It is a lot harder than I would’ve thought; Took my kid, in his awesome homemade Toothless costume, trick-or-treating for the first time in our neighborhood and he did pretty good once we met up with another kid (was a little shy at first about going up to the house and ringing the doorbell and saying “Trick or Treat”. 

Tues: Conversations with my friends Karyna and Joanna today got me through the day, and eating panko chicken and rice at Blue Fin. 

Wed: Talking to my counselor about everything going on and editing my story, as suggested by one of my friends. 

Thurs: Playing SWTOR with my new Jedi Warrior character and just not thinking about things for awhile. Then later playing about an hour of Dragon Age: Inquisition with the character I’m featuring in my current DA fanfiction story (I had originally started her a few months ago, but had to stop playing). 

Winter

winter

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Winter isn’t completely the completely useless crazy princess all the nobility on Luna maker her out to be. She is beloved by the common people, something her stepmother Queen Levana has never been, and the Queen hates her for it. Winter, in turn, despises her stepmother for using her Lunar gift to permanently scar her face and not allowing her to be with the love of her life, Jacin, a palace guard. She allies herself with Cinder, Emperor Kaito, Cress, Thorne, Wolf and Scarlet as they plot to take down Levana and install Cinder as Queen of Luna. Will they be able to defeat Levana and each be able to find their happy endings? To find out read the exciting conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles! Recommended for ages 14+, 4-1/2 stars. 

I reviewed the other Lunar Chronicles books here and here, and although I ultimately loved this book, it was so freaking long I nearly gave up several times. It took me about a month to finish on audiobook, though that was with several interruptions. I mean c’mon, it was 19 discs. We’re almost getting into Game of Thrones territory here (it had 28 discs). I really think it should’ve been divided into two books as the story took so much buildup to get to the point, which was to take down Levana and install Cinder on the Lunar throne as queen. The theme of this book was about Winter, the stepdaughter of Queen Levana who has been mentioned in previous books but you hadn’t heard much about until this book, and was a reference to the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Winter was so flighty and weird that at first, I kind of hated her character, but as the book progresses the reader realizes that her odd behavior isn’t completely her fault. She has chosen to withhold the Lunar gift (mind control) and therefore has essentially driven herself crazy. 

I loved the character and relationship development between the couples: Kai and Cinder, Thorne and Cress, and Wolf and Scarlet. Kai and Cinder are so awkward when the book starts, probably because of the kidnapping but once he understands everything, they are too cute together and apart (especially when he is dealing with Levana). Wolf and Scarlet were interesting because she was tortured and he was genetically modified, but they are still so in love with each other no matter what has happened. Thorne and Cress are my favorite relationship and characters, aside from Cinder. Cress is very brave despite feeling insignificant all of the time. And Thorne is such a dashing rogue (very Han Solo in my opinion), though at the same time completely petrified at the thought of losing Cress, even though he can’t seem to voice it until the very end.

I found the part at the end, the face-off between Cinder and Levana in the audience room to be completely insane but fantastically written by the author. The way Levana keeps using Cinder’s friends against her physically and keeps thwarting all her attempts, even pretending to surrender; it honestly was kept on the edge of myself till the last minute wondering who was going to come out on top. Apparently there’s a short story about one of the characters getting married in the author’s book  Stars Above, so I am definitely going to check that out later.